NXT Live Event
Report by Dot Net staffer Zack Zimmerman
They announced it as a sellout and the arena holds about 2,800 plus the additional floor seats. Hot crowd throughout the night.
Tom Phillips came out to hype the show and read some tweets. About 10 minutes later he came back out to ask fans for five NXT dream matches, some of which were Baron Corbin vs. Bray Wyatt, Austin Aries vs. AJ Styles, and Asuka vs. Becky Lynch.
1. Mojo Rawley over Riddick Moss. Mojo scored the win with a running punch in the corner. Both guys got booed coming out, but Mojo managed to turn most in his favor by the end via his antics and energy.
2. Bayley and Carmella beat Dana Brooke and Peyton Royce. Dana came out to a god pop initially as the crowd was happy to see her back in action, but she did a good job drawing the ire of the crowd throughout. Baymella has some fun chemistry together. Peyton took the pin following a Bayley-to-Belly.
3. Chris Girard pinned Tommaso Ciampa. This match was really great, amplified tenfold by the enthusiasm of the crowd for the two hometown(ish) boys. The match received two standing ovations; one mid-match and one post-match. This was the hard-hitting back-and-forth match that one would expect from the two, and in the most pleasant surprise of the night, the former Biff Busick won with a half-and-half suplex into a sliding uppercut.
4. Austin Aries forced Manny Andrade to submit. Aries got the W with a rolling elbow and Last Chancery. Manny came out completely unknown and left to a rousing applause, which is a very good sign regarding his ability to get over. He looked super impressive here and I continue to have really high hopes once he shows up on NXT TV. Good stuff from these two.
5. Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Elias Samson. Relatively short paint by numbers match with Samson working the heat and Nakamura making his comeback right into the win with the Kinshasa knee. The crowd was white hot for Nakamura as one would expect.
6. American Alpha retained the NXT Tag Team Championships over The Revival. Good match that went just a couple of minutes too long, but featured some really quality fundamental tag team wrestling. Gable rolled up Dawson when the babyfaces countered out of the Shatter Machine.
7. Asuka forced Alexa Bliss to tap out to retain the NXT Women’s Championship. Bad match. The two just didn’t click together and it went way too long at a lagging pace. Asuka’s comeback was sloppy and she got the win with the Asuka Lock out of nowhere (and not like, surprisingly good “out of nowhere” but rather like “wait, that happened?”)
They aired a WWE video thanking the fans for their support, largely featuring Roman Reigns, and the crowd booed so loud that Tom Phillips had to pause a good 10-15 seconds to endure a loud “Roman sucks” chant.
8. Samoa Joe pinned Finn Balor clean to win the NXT Championship. You read that correctly. Good match with a super surprising and exciting finish. I can’t really say whether it was markedly better or worse than their other encounters. I got the sense from the crowd that they were ready for Finn to drop the title, so when he did there was a huge positive reaction despite his popularity. Balor performed a running dropkick at ringside and seemed to legitimately injure his leg before the match resumed and he took a Muscle Buster for the loss. Post-match, Balor took a bow and too-sweeted the crowd as they thanked him, and he was helped to the back.
Overall this was an excellent show. There were a few criticisms here and there, but as a whole this was one of the most complete and enjoyable live wrestling shows I’ve ever attended, and it completely motivated me to check out tomorrow’s show in Kingston, Rhode Island, so be sure to check back on the main page for my report on that show.